13th And 14th Amendment Essay Example


The 13th amendment benefited African-Americans the most during Reconstruction. The 13th Amendment states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation” (government constitution.org). This means “The amendment abolished slavery and it also abolished bond service. Forced labor as a punishment upon conviction of a crime is a form of involuntary servitude allowed by the 13th Amendment under its "punishment-for-crime" exception. Slavery, or forced labor, may not exist in the United States or any place that belongs to the USA. This means that Congress will have the power to make laws to enforce this amendment” (government constitution.org). 

The 13th amendment is known as the Slavery Amendment and helped abolish slavery as an institution in all U.S. states and territories. “One of the key events during Lincoln’s presidency was the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution'' (government constitution.org). This was one of the keys events to his presidency because although it did not end discrimination against those who had been enslaved and blacks it ended slavery and began the long-term goal of achieving equality for all Americans. “The 13th Amendment also made the Three Fifths Compromise obsolete” (government constitution.org). The South had Slave Plantations that used the enforced labor of slaves to harvest and produce products for trade and export and there were nearly 700,000 slaves in a nation of 3.9 million people. “Up to the passing of the 13th Amendment, slaves could only escape the bondage of slavery via systems such as the "Underground Railroad" or to spend many years working towards their goal of Buying Freedom from Slavery” (government constitution.org).  The 13th Amendment is one of the most critical amendments in the US Constitution. This amendment was so beneficial to African-Americans because it made slavery illegal which allowed them to have the rights they deserve and be free, which was very difficult to achieve during that time. Slavery strips you of every right so this amendment was very significant to allow African-Americans to get closer to having the same rights of white men in the south. 

The 14th Amendment benefited African-Americans the most during Reconstruction. The 14th Amendment enforces “The number of representatives for each state has depended on the number of people in that state. The whole number of people to be counted in the census to determine how many representatives a state shall send to Congress. The number does not include Native American Indians who are not taxed. If a state has limits on men aged 21 or older who can vote for electors for president, vice president, representatives, governor, and judges, then that state shall have fewer representatives in Congress” (government constitution.org). Also, “The number will be reduced based on the ratio of male citizens with no right to vote. Certain people shall lose the right to vote for electors for president or vice president and also lose the right to hold the office of senator or representative or any US office if they have been involved in a rebellion against the nation. Members of Congress may remove such an incapacity. The United States will pay all of its debts that were authorized by law” (government constitution.org). Finally, “This will include promises to pay pensions and rewards for people who joined the army to fight against the rebellion (the army of the Confederacy). But the US, and none of the individual states, will pay any debt that was for the purpose of fighting in a rebellion against the US. The US will not pay any claim for the freeing of any slave. All debts of this kind are invalid and illegal. Meaning: Congress can make laws to enforce this amendment” (government constitution.org). The 14th Amendment is about Citizenship rights and is known as the Citizenship Clause or Liberty Clause. It was ratified in 1868 and granted Citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States including formerly enslaved people and guaranteed all citizens equal rights. 

“One of the key events during Johnson’s presidency was the ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution'' (government constitution.org). This was one of the key events to his presidency because it allowed equal protection rights of all US citizens including those that were part of a minority group and would help African-Americans not be stripped of their rights again. “The 14th amendment nullified part of the Dred Scott decision. The concept and implementation of this addition have formed the basis for all modern civil rights laws, disability acts and other actions designed to protect the rights of minority groups'' (government constitution.org). The 14th Amendment is one of the most critical amendments in the US Constitution. This amendment was so beneficial to African-Americans because it allowed African-Americans to be citizens and have equal protection. Without this amendment, they would be back to square one because not being a citizen strips important rights. They weren’t able to live in towns, get the jobs they wanted, go to certain schools, and etc. This is so beneficial because they were able to become citizens and get those rights back to become more equal with white men.

In Conclusion, the 13th Amendment benefited African-Americans the most during Reconstruction. Without this Amendment, slavery would still exist today if it wasn’t outlawed. Slavery being abolished is the first and most important step that was needed in Reconstruction.  Lincoln and other members of congress realized amending the Constitution was the only way to officially end slavery. “The 13th Amendment is one of the most important amendments in the US Constitution” ((government constitution.org). The amendment outlawed the practice of involuntary servitude and peonage. Slavery was the reason the nation divided and caused violence. “One of the key events during Lincoln’s presidency was the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. It ended slavery in the United States” (government constitution.org).  It was so important to abolish slavery for African-Americans. The most beneficial thing African-Americans needed was to be free and have rights again with without slavery would take them one step into reconstructing. Overall, the 13th amendment benefited African-Americans the most during Reconstruction. 

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